Physics with Planetary and Space Physics

Key Facts

Code F366
  • Typical A-level offer

    BBB with B in Physics and B in Mathematics

  • Course Length

    4 Years

Further details on entry requirements

Apply Now

In choosing to study the MPhys Physics with Planetary Space Physics Degree  (F366) at Aberyswyth University you will benefit from studying in a department with a long history of expertise in planetary and space physics. You will immerse yourself in essential physics topics with a detailed view of the cores of both physics and space physics that include galactic astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology. You will be guided through modules that include evolution of the solar system, planetary interiors and surfaces, the sun as a star, comets, and red giants amongst others. You will also cover quantum mechanics, thermal physics, and atmospheric physics. Upon successful completion of the Physics with Planetary Space Physics Degree you will have the key technical skills and and generic personal attributes that will enable you to pursue a number of career options.

Department of Physics: 95% student satisfaction (NSS 2016)

92% of undergraduates who graduated from the Department of Physics in 2015 were in employment or further education six months after graduating (DLHE 2015)

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Employability
  • Teaching, Learning and Assessment
  • Student Views


The Physics with Planetary and Space Physics degree scheme provides you with a fundamental core of physics alongside a detailed exploration of the physics of the solar system and an overview of modern astronomical science. The nucleus of mainstream physics ensures flexibility in further study or employment after graduation and provides the necessary background for the specialist modules.

Why study Physics with Planetary and Space Physics at Aberystwyth?

Our Physics courses are accredited by the Institute of Physics (IoP), a leading scientific society which engages with policymakers and the general public to advance physics education, research and application, giving you a head start when you enter the competitive jobs market.

Physics has been taught at Aberystwyth since the foundation of the university in 1872, making it the first university in Wales to teach the subject. Despite our heritage we continue to innovate to ensure that the degree schemes we offer enable you get the best Physics degree you possibly can.

Our lecturers are also researchers working at the cutting edge of their respective fields, so you can be confident that your learning experience will be informed by the latest specialist knowledge along with advanced instrumentation, modelling and techniques.In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014) assessment the university was placed in the top 50 institutions for research power and intensity. It submitted 77% of eligible staff and 95% of the university's research was of an internationally recognised standard.

The MPhys Physics with Planetary and Space Physics degree offers you the unparalleled opportunity of spending the second semester of your final year studying advanced courses in polar science in the High Arctic alongside students from across Europe. All teaching is through the common language of English and no additional tuition fees are required.

The Department offers a number of modules through the medium of Welsh. Further details are available from the Department.

Our Staff

Department of Physics Lecturers are all qualified to PhD level and have a track record of research in their fields of specialisation.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Core (110 Credits) Students must take the following modules: You may choose a Welsh medium (FG or MT) alternative module (see below) instead of an English (PH, MA, MP) module

Semester 1

Calculus MA10610
Classical Dynamics MP14010
Classical Physics PH11010
Introduction To Computational And Experimental Physics PH15700
Algebra And Differential Equations PH16210

Semester 2

Further Algebra And Calculus MA11010
Forces Of Nature PH11120
Physics Career Planning And Skills Development PH12910
Modern Physics PH14310
Introduction To Computational And Experimental Physics PH15720

Year 1 Options Students should take a further 10 credits, from the following:

Semester 1

Astronomy PH18010

Chaos, Communications And Consciousness PH19510

Semester 2

Energy And The Environment PH19010

Year 1 Options Welsh medium alternative modules:

Semester 1

Ffiseg Glasurol FG11010

Cyflwyniad I Ffiseg Arbrofol A Chyfrifiadurol FG15700

Algebra A Hafaliadau Differol FG16210

Calcwlws MT10610

Dynameg Glasurol MT14010

Semester 2

Grymoedd Natur FG11120

Cynllunio Gyrfa A Datblygu Sgiliau Ffiseg FG12910

Cyflwyniad I Ffiseg Arbrofol A Chyfrifiadurol FG15720

Algebra A Chalcwlws Pellach MT11010

Year 2 Core (120 Credits) Students take the following core modules: You may choose a Welsh medium (FG) alternative module (see below) instead of an English (PH, MP) module:

Semester 1

Mathematical Physics MP26020
Thermal Physics PH21510
Data Handling And Statistics PH24010
Stars PH24610
The Planets PH28510

Semester 2

Optics PH22010
Electricity And Magnetism PH22510
Quantum Mechanics 1 PH23720
Experimental Physics PH25520

Year 2 Options Welsh medium alternative modules:

Semester 1

Ffiseg Mathemategol FG26020

Semester 2

Ffiseg Arbrofol FG25520

Year 3 Core (120 Credits) Students take the following core modules: You may choose a Welsh medium (FG) alternative module (see below) instead of an English (PH) module, and take FG34410 instead of a specialist Planetary and Space module subject to approval by the Degree Scheme co-ordinator

Semester 1

Concepts In Condensed Matter Physics PH32410
Numerical Methods PH36010
Project (40 Credits) PH37500
Interior Of The Sun PH38310
The Solar Atmosphere & Heliosphere PH38410
Planetary Neutral Atmospheres PH38510

Semester 2

Probing Atoms And Molecules PH32710
Project (40 Credits) PH37540
Ionospheres & Magnetospheres PH39510
Space Plasmas PH39710

Year 3 Options Welsh medium alternative modules

Semester 1

Prosiect (40 Credyd) FG37500

Semester 2

Prosiect (40 Credyd) FG37540

Final Year Core (40 Credits) Students take the following core modules:

Semester 1

Electromagnetic Theory PHM2510
Quantum Technology PHM3010
Communicating Topics In Physics PHM4410
Advanced Numerical Methods PHM6610

Final Year Options Students take either PHM5800/PHM5860 and PHM7020 OR PHM5920 and PHM5760

Semester 1

Major Project PHM5800

Minor Project PHM5920

Semester 2

Studies In The Upper Polar Atmosphere PHM5760

Major Project PHM5860

Advanced Research Topics PHM7020

Final Year Options Welsh medium alternative modules

Semester 1

Cyfathrebu Pynciau Mewn Ffiseg FGM4410

Prif Brosiect FGM5800

Prosiect Llai FGM5920

Semester 2

Prif Brosiect FGM5860


Career prospects

A degree in Physics with Planetary and Space Physics will prepare you for such career destinations as space scientist, physicist, scientific laboratory technician, radiation protection practitioner, and research scientist. Other career paths may include systems developer, product development scientist, technical author, or meteorologist. Further study at postgraduate level will open doors into research, lecturing and teaching.

Transferable Skills

Studying for a degree in Physics with Planetary and Space Physics will equip you with a range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. These include:

• research and data analysis skills
• enhanced mathematical and computational skills
• effective problem-solving and creative thinking skills
• a thorough grounding in information technology skills
• the ability to work independently
• time-management and organisational skills, including the ability to meet deadlines
• the ability to express ideas and communicate information in a clear and structured manner, in both written and oral form
• self-motivation and self-reliance
• team-working, with the ability to discuss concepts in groups, accommodating different ideas and reaching agreement

Year in Employment scheme (YES)
The University operates a Year in Employment Scheme (YES), which offers you a fantastic opportunity to take a year out between your second and third year to work in an organisation in the UK or overseas. YES provides a very rewarding and worthwhile experience, both personally and professionally, and can help you to stand out from the crowd in a very competitive job market. The University’s Career Service will help you to explore your options and secure a suitable work placement.

GO Wales
GO Wales is administered by the University’s Career Service, working with local businesses to create paid work placements of a few weeks’ duration for students. It gives you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience which will enhance your CV and make you more attractive to potential employers.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

What will I learn?

In the first year, you will lay the foundations for your future study by examining the main branches of classical and modern physics, underpinned by the core mathematical disciplines of algebra and calculus. You will be introduced to computational and experimental physics, quantum theory, dynamics, and the basic principles of gravitational and electrostatic fields. You will also be able to choose from a number of optional modules to suit your own interests.

In the second year you will explore the solar interior, stars, planets and planetary atmospheres alongside thermal physics, quantum mechanics, mathematical physics and data handling and statistics.

In the third year you will investigate space plasmas, planetary atmospheres, ionospheres and magnetospheres, the solar atmosphere and heliosphere alongside condensed matter, atoms and molecules and electromagnetism. You will also undertake a special project of your own choosing under the guidance of your personal project supervisor.

In the fourth year you will study electromagnetic theory, quantum technology, advanced topics in modern physics and advanced numerical methods, and write a dissertation. You will also have the option to undertake an extended project which will normally relate to one of the research groups in the department under the supervision of the project supervisor. An intensive residential course, which includes sessions on planning a project, communication and self-management skills and structured group work on presenting and assessing projects, forms part of the extended project. Alternatively you may opt to take advantage of the fantastic opportunity to study atmospheric, ionospheric and space physics in the Norwegian High Arctic.

You may also choose to undertake a career planning module as part of your course, which will enhance your employability prospects and enable you to develop valuable transferable skills.

How will I be taught?

You will be taught through a complementary set of teaching and learning methods and approaches, ranging from formal lectures, seminars and tutorials to workshops, practicals and individual and group-based project work. A strong emphasis is placed on project work which is linked to the active research interests of the departmental staff.

You will be assessed through a combination of coursework, presentations, lab reports, lab diaries and examinations.

You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your degree course, who will help you with any problems or queries, whether these are academic-related or personal issues. You should feel free to contact them at any time for help and advice.

You will also have the opportunity to complete a Personal Development Plan (PDP) at Aberystwyth. This is a structured process of self-appraisal, reflection, and planning, which will enable you to chart your personal, academic and professional development throughout your time at university. By recording your academic performance, and highlighting the skills you already have and those you will need for future employability, the PDP portfolio will equip you with the necessary tools to plan effectively, develop successful approaches to study, and consider your future career options and aspirations.

Student Views

I love Physics with Planetary and Space Physics. The structure of the years is perfectly designed to give you a feel for all branches of physics rather than a more in-depth view of one particular branch. The modules themselves are pretty awesome, studying planetary atmospheres to the solar interior, from the structure of the atom all the way to the structure of the galaxies. Possibly the best thing is the opportunity to study at Svalbard, Norway and do some real research work with the equipment they have at their disposal. James Parker

It is really fascinating, as not only do you look at the cosmos but you also get down to the real nitty-gritty of what makes a solar system tick - the planets. Doing PSP gives you a great range of information from how the Sun works, to the possibility of life on other worlds and how we might discover them! All in all it's a pretty fantastic course - comparing the science of this world to that of others is real front-line exploration! Timothy Edward Andrew Powell

Entry Requirements

A Levels BBB with B in Physics and B in Mathematics

GCSE requirements (grade C min):
English or Welsh, Mathematics

BTEC National Diploma:
DMM-DDM with specified subject and B in A level Mathematics

International Students

International Baccalaureate:
28 points overall with 5 points in Physics and 5 points in Mathematics at Higher Level

European Baccalaureate:
Pass overall with 60% in Physics and 60% in Mathematics

Back to the top